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Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Writer: Taylor Simmons
Photographer: Dhrumil Desai
Model: Megan Hawkins @ No Ties Management
Stylist: Rebecca Araoz
Wardrobe: Gypset Mermaid
Jewelry: Made in Earth

Bunny Bedi | Jewelry Designer and Owner of Made in Earth

Favorite Crystal: Kyanite

Native knowledge: Bunny Bedi supports local artists by inviting them to create a work of art on their chalkboard floor.

As I walked down Abbot Kinney BLVD, an iconic street that is the epitome of chic and unique, and found the perfect space for my store. Our gallery fits in so well with the vibe of the area. As soon as you walk in all your senses activate and the name ‘Made In Earth’ becomes a reality, from the smell of the shelving made from recycled timber crates to the texture of the natural chipped flooring. Each cabinet is filled with colourful, natural gemstones accompanied by wooden branches, chunks of crystals and wooden mannequins to display each piece. The contrast of the sleek stones and the natural surroundings is eye catching.  The store holds a variety of stones, some are recognizable, others, literally, from out of this world. Each has a significance and power behind it, whether you’re looking for a stone for protection, love or simply a birthstone. The uniqueness paired with the authenticity of each piece creates a perfectly thoughtful gift.

Bunny Bedi, the creator of this natural jewelry brand states, “It makes a thoughtful and meaningful gift.  It’s that simple.” Bunny invites us to take a look at his life and his daily venture in finding the authentic stone. Passionate and knowledgeable, he is the perfect person to take us from the Earth’s core to the outer limits of our universe searching for “Nature’s art.”

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Q: What sets you apart from other boutique jewelry stores?

Bunny Bedi: We have over 180 gemstones, and they are all one of a kind, handcrafted designs and they are all unique. I like to work with different stones that people wouldn’t think you could make jewelry out of as well as giving well known gemstones a new and modern take.  There are over 800 minerals known to man but what I try to do is think outside of the box and think of something different. You know, it’s always been about the stone for me.

Q: Could you walk us through the process, all the way from you getting the stone to the consumer buying the piece?  

BB: It’s always a challenge right from the start. I love stones that are best of the best. Sometimes we need to cut our own to get that high standard. Because I love high quality and unique stones I spend a lot of time thinking about the logistics of cutting and setting. I’ve been doing this for 20 years and it’s still a long journey from seeing the big piece of rough rock to the finished piece.

Q: I hear there are stories behind every stone.  Could you tell me your favorite story about finding a stone? 

BB: See, I’m not a miner myself, but I have friends who are. My favourite story involves a dear friend of mine Frank Soklich who was a very respected man in the rock mining industry In Australia and his son, a good mate of mine too, and  they have been mining in Australia for years! My friend has passed away now, but I respect him as a gentleman because he has taught me a lot of things over the years. The story began when he was passing through the Western Australian desert, travelling in his truck through a very remote part and he found a stone. He loved it, so much so that he wanted to get a claim on that piece of land. He didn’t have any enough cash or money so him and his wife decided to trade their new truck in for rock from a local. Then they got a lift home that was about 400 miles in their truck, because now they had the rock but no truck to get home. That’s how rock hounds do business! They love it that much and it brings tears to their eyes.

Q: What’s your story in getting into this business?

BB: I used to be a chef! I moved to Australia and had to support myself. I had always wanted to be a chef but I suddenly wanted to do something different. The restaurant business is very stressful; it was a lot of hard work. I remember being in the kitchen, cutting onions and crying over them… Indian cooks use a lot of onions, so it was hours of crying. So I thought, OK, I’ve got to do something else.

A friend of mine gave me credit on $300 worth of jewelry and I started selling it at flea markets. Then I started to take more notice of designs and learning more about the jewelry process and coming up with my own designs. I’ve always been a sponge for knowledge and love to learn. I love it, and I’m still learning! I’m going to be learning from the grave I reckon! If anybody tells you that they know everything about stones, they’re lying.

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Q: What do you look for when you are searching out these perfect stones?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s how it is. It’s like a painting, this is nature’s art. You can see when looking at a stone the layers and inclusions and the millions of years that has gone into producing it. I just see the beauty in the stone, and sometimes customers don’t agree, but generally I get it right! Of course I look for quality, that goes without saying but at the end of the day, the beauty is judged by the individual.

Q: Can you explain the process you go through in deciding? 

BB: When you buy rough rock uncut it is the biggest gamble you can take.  You have no idea what yield you will get out of it.  I have a friend who bought a rock for $20 and he found a black opal worth $15, 000 inside that piece.  Until you go in, you don’t know what you will find.

Q: How many times would you say you take that gamble?

BB: Haha…every day! But I’m pretty savvy about what pieces are worth.  Even if I don’t find anything in the stone, I still love it.  Some people don’t like it, but I love it so much that I put a lot of money into it. I invest in it.

Q: It sounds like you have a close relationship with each stone you purchase. Is it hard to see a piece go from the store?

BB: This is not me only. This is also the people who work for me.  My manager in Australia and I sold a pendant to a client and we ended up calling her after two days because we realized how much we loved it.  We asked if we could buy the pendant back from her, but she had already sold it to somebody else.  We have to respect the sales.  There is something known as greed and need.  There is an important difference between greed and need.  Need is what you need to survive.  Greed is what you don’t need.

Q: How did you transition from flea markets to a brick a mortar location?

BB: I started wholesaling. I’ve been selling my product to over 60 stockists in Australia.  Those are the hands that fed me for such a long time, my main income from these amazing galleries, boutiques and jewelers across the country. Then, I decided to come to LA, and I came to Abbot Kinney and had a good feeling about it, and so I opened a store there. I never used to brand my product even though I was selling it; I would never brand it. The branding came about six years ago.  I loved the US, and it was a no brainer.  The population of California is more than the population of all of Australia!

Q: Why did you choose Venice Beach?

BB: I chose Venice Beach because of the vibe of the area. I just felt it was really chilled out and loved the feeling of it.

Q: What else would you like to tell about Made in Earth’s story?

BB: Nature creates, We enhance…. That’s our motto!

Q: Do women gravitate more towards one jewelry piece than the other?

BB: Not necessarily. Necklaces and rings are our biggest sellers.  We have a very large variety of bracelets and earrings too.  We are always trying to be innovative and trying different things.  Basically, necklaces and rings would be the biggest sellers for us.  Necklaces more because people love to buy gifts.  Because of the ring sizing, they shift towards the pendants normally.  But when it comes time to choose just one piece, women tend to know what they want and the sparkle factor helps.

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Q: What are some popular gifts for men from the store?

BB: We have an extensive collection of cuff links and men are always fascinated by our meteorite jewelry too.

Q: How do you stay current with jewelry trends?

BB: The good thing about my business is that it can never go out of fashion.  Stones have been around for millions of years, since the time of the Bible—still today they are very popular.  There are no trends.  Trends will come and go, but they (stones) will always be there.  That’s the good part about my jewelry.

Q: What inspires you?

BB: The stone.  My whole thing is about the stone.  I work with the stone. Every piece is unique and we try to beautify it.

Q: What is one stone everybody should have in their jewelry box?

BB: There are so many. Every corner of my store, you find a new thing.  People come in and find their own stone. That’s it.

Q: Do you have a personal preference?

BB: I have one ring that I wear everyday because my grandmother gave it to me.  It has a lot of meaning to it and to me, that’s what stones are about.  If somebody has given you a gift, then it means a lot.  It has taken millions of years to create, and if somebody gives that gift to you then you cherish it.   I do wear a lot of jewelry,  I am the only guy you’ll know who wears seven rings.  The pearl ring my grandmother gave to me will always mean the most.

Q: What is your favorite Crystal?

BB: My favorite stone is Kyanite. Its such a gorgeous blue when faceted right, and metaphysically, out of 800 or so crystals known, there are two stones that don’t hold negative energies and Kyanite is one of them.

Q: What stone represents love most, in your opinion, and why?

BB: People always go for the Rose Quartz.  I would say any of the green stones—green is the heart chakra. It represents the emotional energies.  Chakras are the energy centers in your body, basically. The heart represents green.  I love rose quartz, Rhodonite and Rhodochrosite and Peridot. We have Pallasite which is a meteorite and it contains peridot crystals, the only gemstone from space to be found on the planet earth. It is completely out of this world!

Q: How do you learn about all of these different meanings for the stones?  What is your reference?

BB: There are a lot of reference books of gemology and the metaphysical side of gemstones. I have a lot of respect for an author named Melody, she has written numerous books. She worked for NASA as a scientist and then became very interested in the science of crystals. “Love is in The Earth-The Encyclopedia of Crystals” is her latest book.  It weighs around nine pounds.  It gives you the scientific side and the metaphysical side of each stone along with images, it’s the ultimate book for learning about gems.

Made in Earth | I506 Abbot Kinney Rd,  Venice Beach, CA 90291 | 310.369.3838 | www.mieusa.com